Oakland named 4th most dangerous city in the US

I pegged Oakland as the country’s fourth most violent city a week ago, but today it became news because CQ Press agrees with me. Anyway, I don’t know that I have that much to say about it (at the moment), but I thought I’d share some more detailed data than provided in the newspaper.

We’re using the same data – from the FBI’s totally fascinating Uniform Crime Report, which I swear, you can just get lost in for hours, but CQ Press measures way more cities than I did – 378. Their threshold for measurement is a population of 75,000, while I was looking only at cities with at least 300,000 residents. They also have a much more complicated method of data analysis. In my post last week, I simply ranked by the number of violent crimes per 10,000 residents, while they have some sort of formula weighting the crimes they measure (PDF!).

You can view the first page of the list here (PDF!). (The full list is copyrighted, and therefore I can’t provide it, but I’m happy to answer any questions about it in the comments). From the list, here are the 15 most dangerous cities:

1. Detroit, MI (884,462)
2. St. Louis, MO (346,879)
3. Flint, MI (118,256)
4. Oakland, CA (398,834)
5. Camben, NJ (80,071)
6. Birmingham, AL (233,577)
7. North Charleston, SC (87,655)
8. Memphis, TN (680,828)
9. Richmond, CA (103,106)
10. Cleveland, OH (452,759)
11. Orlando, FL (216,819)
12. Baltimore, MD (637,556)
13. Little Rock, AR (186,670)
14. Compton, CA (96,520)
15. Youngstown, OH (82,938)

So while the report is interesting, the fact that we have too much crime isn’t exactly breaking news. What I do find interesting is that the ranking lists over time might offer a sort of gauge of how public safety in different locations is changing. For example, Compton, CA was umber 4 on last year’s list, but is down to 14 this year. Why? Atlanta, GA has been listed as one of the most dangerous cities almost every year. It was #3 in 2004, but only #17 in 2005 and #22 for 2006. Sounds like they must be doing something right. Or maybe the data weighting system changed. I don’t know. But it is something I plan to look into when I have some time.

Anyway, I find Oakland’s progressive position on the most dangerous cities list over the years kind of interesting (and depressing), so here you go:

2006: 4
2005: 8
2004: 21
2003: 24
2002: 21
2001: ? (not in top 25)
2000: 28
1999: 24
1998: 22
1997: 16
1996: 18

But hey, if it makes you feel any better – while we may be the 4th most dangerous city, we’re only the 11th most dangerous metro area. So that’s, um…something. You can view the first page of that list here (PDF!), but once again, I’ll post the top 15:

1. Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn, MI M.D. (1,993,241)
2. Memphis, TN-MS-AR (1,273,452)
3. Las Vegas-Paradise, NV (1,767,730)
4. Flint, MI (442,777)
5. Pine Bluff, AR (106,062)
6. Saginaw, MI (207,837)
7. Myrtle Beach, SC (230,522)
8. Shreveport-Bossier City, LA (363,251)
9. Little Rock, AR (650,613)
10. Miami-Dade County, FL M.D. (2,416,083)
11. Oakland-Fremont, CA M.D. (2,488,907)
12. Stockton, CA (670,097)
13. Alexandria, LA (140,250)
14. Sumter, SC (107,158)
15. Jackston, TN (112,267)

See CQ Press’s Note on Rankings here (PDF!)

2 thoughts on “Oakland named 4th most dangerous city in the US

  1. jt

    I dont know how these stats are tallied but oakland has to be the most dangerous city. So much crime here goes unreported because much of it is bad guy vs. bad guy. Spend a friday evening driving around East Oakland, particularly the Macarthur corridor and you will see wanton criminal activity, hear random gun shots, beatings etc.

  2. T brown

    no Detroits the most dangerous city ive been all ove the place you all have gangs there in detroit you get kill for just looking at a person our just by really doing nothing, i rememer back in the day detroit drug crews use to go out and take over other citys ive seen it. they send out scout teams and then move in i know some that even came to oakland, its a different level, i went to 12 funerals in 2 months and its nothing to bragg abiut but you have to be here to understand, the mentality of a detroit person its wicked not gang related ive been to cali, fl, men, new york, chi, and i know they will kill you for nothing, we have so many drug crews here but they do there business in other citys, read about it, i think st loius is the close’s to detroit, but please believe, they maybe coming your way soon, i know theyre coming that way, anyway stay up and be safe